Jayalalita Charged In land Corruption Case   [10-6-1999]

One of  leading politicians Jayalalita (ex-CM of Tamilnadu) has been charged with corruption in a land deal case.

Jayalalitha Jayaram, an ex-film actress, is facing trial in a special court along with close associates.

Ms Jayalalitha was instrumental in bringing down the government of Atal Behari Vajpayee in April 99, after her AIADMK party withdrew from the BJP-led coalition.

Special Judge P Anbazhagan brought charges against Ms Jayalalitha, her close associate Sasikala and three others.

Land scandal

The charges related to the alleged sale of state government land to firms owned by Ms Jayalalitha and Ms Sasikala, at a price below market rates.

The former chief minister is already facing charges in three other corruption cases, all relating to the period in which she held office.

As head of the AIADMK party, Ms Jayalalitha was a powerful member of Mr Vajpayee's coalition with 18 seats in parliament.

She caused considerable embarrassment for the BJP when she demanded key cabinet posts for her party members, holding back her letter of support until her demands were met.

The ruling DMK party in Tamil Nadu, a bitter opponent of the AIADMK, has set up the special court to speed up the trial process.

A series of investigations against Ms Jayalalitha have been underway for some time in lower courts.